Experiential Marketing and Swadeshi Movement in India

absolut lemon drop bus shelter ad
Absolut Lemon Drop experiential marketing campaign

Experiential Marketing in recent years is catching the momentum and more companies are gearing up to start such campaigns to attract consumer’s attention emotionally, practically and rationally. Its aim is to create some kind of connection between a product and consumers. It allows consumers to respond to a product emotionally and/or practically. Experiential marketing campaigns need to be creative and ad campaigners must be aware of their target audience and site locations.

Gone are those old days when advertisements used to be jingles or mere a poster, now there is a steep increase in the number of television ads which involve the viewers emotionally, either through their sense of humour or by leaving tears on their eyes but still getting a positive attention towards their product. However, experiential marketing is not restricted to the television ads, but various campaigners have used their creativity to attract the consumers to their product by allowing them to interact with the advertisement in the physical world.

Some Interesting Examples of Experiential Marketing

One of the recent and very popular experiential marketing campaign was executed by Coca Cola in National University of Singapore. A vending machine was installed which would give a free can of Coca Cola when hugged tightly, this became very popular with students of the university and the campaign became very popular worldwide that almost all the major business and news journals covered it. It was a creative idea implemented by Oglivy and Mather of Singapore for the cola company. Leonardo O’Grady, ASEAN IMC director of the Coca-Cola Company explains: “Happiness is contagious. The Coca-Cola Hug Machine is a simple idea to spread some happiness. Our strategy is to deliver doses of happiness in an unexpected, innovative way to engage not only the people present, but the audience at large.”

coca cola hug machine
Coke Hug Machine in National University of Singapore, Source unknown

World renowned automaker Volkswagen surprised newsreaders in India on 21st September, 2010 by giving them the first of its kind experience of a talking newspaper. As soon as readers opened the Times of India or The Hindu newspaper; a light sensor would activate a recorded advertisement announcing the arrival of “a perfectly engineered car” – the Vento. It not only did help Volkswagen, but also the newspaper companies which received appreciations by the readers. This creative idea was implemented by DDB India. Speaking on this, Lutz Kothe, head of marketing & PR, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Group Sales India, said “At Volkswagen, innovation is a way of life, it extends beyond our cars to even the way we communicate which reflects in this initiative.”

BBC see both sides of the story
BBC World ‘See both sides of the story’ ad

BBC started utilizing the corner walls for their campaign “See both sides of the story” this advertisement literally allowed the public to see the two sides giving the message that BBC has an unbiased approach and covers both the sides of the news from every point of view. 

Folgers coffee street ad
Folgers Coffee Street Ad
Folgers coffee in New York City turned ordinary man holes into steaming cup of hot coffee. In the busy city like new york where finding a banner space to showcase your ad is also difficult, Folgers came with an idea of using man holes for their advertisement campaign. Which no one would have ever thought of before, it is not just extremely creative, but it is also impossible to be missed as millions of people walk on the streets of New York everyday.

duracell escalator ad
Duracell Escalator ad

Duracell used the escalator’s base to advertise their batteries. The campaign involved placing a 3D sticker of Duracell batteries showing as if the escalator is being powered by their batteries. This gives an impression of the high power and potential of their product, although it may not be possible to power a whole escalator with a pair of two standard AA size battery cells.

While all over the world innovative ideas have been coming up to create a difference on how consumers behave towards their product, Television ads have reached a new high in attracting consumers with their all emotions involved as people cannot interact as much physically as in real life, the only scope for the advertisers is to directly strike consumer’s passion and emotions.

Swadeshi Movement Connection

In India, Indian companies have been using experiential marketing with the formula of their national identity. Time to time companies create advertisements to make Indian consumers aware of their Indian origin. Such campaigning idea has its roots in Swadeshi movement. It was a movement to weaken British Empire in India economically and create better economic conditions within India and Indian people by abjuring English products and using only Indian made and Indian origin products. As described by Mahatma Gandhi, the movement was of utmost important  for swaraj (self rule). The movement was mainly propelled by Aurobindo Ghosh, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai who were full with enthusiasm and anger after the partition of Bengal.
People gathered and burnt all the imported clothes and products they had, they boycotted buying any foreign product, even imported sugar. Local industries, handicrafts, small scale workers and farmers gained a lot, creating a better integrated economic structure among Indians and demoralizing English rulers whose one of the main purpose of being in India was its market.
Indian companies are still active in tapping that general mindset among Indian people and making them realize their greatness as their products are of Indian origin. It could be another form of experiential marketing as it is only on television, but still allows consumers to interact with their emotional senses. Watching such advertisements on television, consumers are able to connect to those times when their ancestors or they themselves had struggled to get rid of the foreign rule. It fills the public with enthusiasm, patriotism and passion and allows them to better interact emotionally with the product.
Today almost all the major Indian brands have harnessed the potential of Swadeshi movement in the current scenarios. Videocon coming with the tag line “Indian Multinational” in their ads became very famous at the time when Indians realized that the country is moving ahead with a very fast pace. Indian actor Shahrukh Khan would appear on the television sets and say “the Indian Multinational”.
An Indian man would appear on the television screens flying from India to the different countries showcasing the cultural icons of those countries, chanting “vande matram” Aditya Birla Group came up with the tagline “Taking India to the World”, making Indians realize the value of their company how they are making the brand name “India” more popular in the world.
TATA group came with an advertisement showing a little girl how proud she was to see an Air conditioner, which is still out of reach from for many Indians living in Indian villages. The girl insists on Voltas Air conditioner’s Indian origin and says “India ka AC” (Air conditioner of India). Voltas air conditioners are considered to be cheaper, more efficient and powerful. 
When India opened its doors for the international companies after liberalizing its economy in favour of globalization in 1991. There was a fear that local Indian companies might lose in competition with the matured brands from the developed world. However, today almost in any sector Indian companies are able to outperform their foreign counterparts. There are many reasons for this, one being that Indian markets were opened quite at later stage when government had realized that Indian companies have got matured enough. But one of the major reason is also that Indians of today’s generation have started preferring India brands once again which is indeed because of such advertisements that connects people to Swadeshi movement.
Taking example of the auto industry, three out of top four auto companies in India are Indians by their market share. Leaving behind other companies who have a great foothold all over the world.

  1. Maruti – 40% (India)
  2. Hyundai -13.88% (South Korea)
  3. Tata – 13.12% (India)
  4. Mahindra – 7.89% (India)

Source: rediff.com

Recently India observed telecom revolution, which has penetrated even the remotest parts of India, this was due to the result of aggressive competition between government-private and private-private companies. Today almost all the big names in India like Tata, Aditya Birla Group, Videocon, Reliance, Bharti are in telecom business. Again among the top four mobile carrier services in India, three are Indians.

  1. Airtel
  2. Vodafone
  3. Idea
  4. Reliance
When it comes to bank, Indian banks receive tough competition from global players like Citibank, HSBC and Deutsche Bank, however when it comes to the best banks in India including foreign and domestic, all top seven positions are occupied by the Indian ones.

best banks in india
Source: Business Today

Experiential marketing is anything that allows users to interact with their products either physically or emotionally. Some creative campaigns can become so popular that they might start attracting consumers out of the targeted area bringing more profit, revenue and popularity. Implementing such creativeness could be costly, but if researched and analyzed properly, it can bring good results, especially brand popularity and name. 

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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.
  • Anonymous

    A very interesting read. You know, Sapient Nitro also tried its hands in experimental marketing. They made an ice cream machine, which will give you free ice cream if your smile is wide and nice. Also Coca Cola is Sapient Nitro’s client and the Machine you mentioned was made by us. I will love to hear more examples of Experimental marketing in India, particularly those which are not related to Swadeshi Movement.